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PATCO

PATCO Strike: Reflections On An Ominous Anniversary

This week marks the 40th anniversary of an illegal strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) that was decisively broken by President Ronald Reagan.  That strike began on August 3, 1981, when more than 12,000 air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration went on an illegal strike after their negotiations with the administration failed to produce an acceptable contract offer.  Within hours, Reagan appeared in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis and Attorney General William French Smith.  If the strikers did not return to work within 48 hours, he announced, they would be “terminated,” fired and permanently replaced. 
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